The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is just beginning.
And while I know not everybody can afford the adult-only dinner-and-wine events, Saturday’s cooking demonstrations at Sundance Square Plaza are free family events.
“It’s a great chance for us to meet more people, and get everybody excited about the festival,” said chef Blaine Staniford of Grace and Little Red Wasp on the eve of the festival’s Thursday opening.
He’ll meet the public at 2 p.m. Saturday and demonstrate his chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, a standout at Thursday’s kickoff event in Billy Bob;s Texas.
A different chef will perform each hour Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the cooking pavilion, Main and Third streets. Most will stay to answer questions about food and restaurants.
At 1 p.m., former Woodshed Smokehouse chef Andrew Dilda of Dallas’ Barter will demonstrate how to make your own breakfast sausage.
“A lot of hunters get sausage processed, when it’s easy to make at home,” Dilda said in a quick conversation during a lunch rush. He’ll add Shiner Bock to the pork, plus coriander and maple.
Dilda, who came from the chef Tim Love school of meat, will serve game hen sausage at the festival’s $125 Grand Tasting event Friday and cook for $81 Sip ’n’ Savor events Saturday and Sunday at lunch, all at the Renaissance Worthington.
Dilda said the festival is a “natural progression of the way Fort Worth’s dining scene has grown.”
When Grace opened five years ago, Staniford said, “everybody thought we were too adventurous, so we scaled back. Now, there are a lot of chefs and menu items here you wouldn’t have seen five years ago.”
Dilda joins a parade of Dallas chefs visiting, including West Texan Stephan Pyles, Matt McCallister of FT33 and John Tesar of Spoon Bar + Kitchen.
Saturday, Tesar will demonstrate braised beef tongue with salsa verde at 11 a.m. in the pavilion. Arlington product Marcus Paslay of Clay Pigeon Food & Drink will make pasta carbonara at 4 p.m.
Also cooking in the pavilion Saturday: Lou Lambert of Lambert’s in Austin, 10 a.m.; Donatella Trotti of Nonna Tata, noon; David McMillan of Bird Cafe and Meddlesome Moth, 3 p.m.; and Molly McCook of Ellerbe Fine Food, 5 p.m.
“We’re lucky Russell and Mike put their heads together and made this happen,” Paslay said, referring to Reata’s Mike Micallef and Russell Kirkpatrick.
For dining, Taco Diner is now open on the plaza along with Bird Cafe, Del Frisco’s Grille and other restaurants nearby.
For more information on the festival, including the Sunday night charity food-truck park benefit for Meals on Wheels at Coyote Drive-In, go to fortworth foodandwinefestival.com.
• Two more bits of dining news:
Café Modern at the Modern Art Museum premieres its spring menu all weekend, including a Vietnamese coffee affogato dessert with toasted-coconut shortbread.
(Show any Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival ticket for a 20 percent discount. Also check out this week’s Eats Beat podcast, with Café Modern’s executive chef Dena Peterson.)
Bite City Grill has opened to a warm reception in Montgomery Plaza. Early favorites: the seared duck, the beef carpaccio and the artichoke-mushroom flatbread; 2600 W. Seventh St. (behind the University Co-op store), 817-877-3888, bitecitygrill.com.